House Democrats, indigenous tribal leaders, and public land protection advocates all rebuked the Trump administration\u0026#039;s downsizing of two national monuments Wednesday, arguing that President Donald Trump and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke acted illegally by conducting what at least one critic called a \u0022sham\u0022 review process. The administration acted in the interest of pro-fossil fuel lawmakers, the oil and gas industry, and other monument opponents when they conducted a hasty review of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in 2017, critics argued.\u0022President Trump\u0026#039;s unprecedented proclamation revoking Bears Ears and replacing it with two small monument units violates the Antiquities Act and exceeds the power delegated to the president by Congress.\u0022 —Tony Small, Ute TribeThe House Natural Resources Committee invited several witnesses to testify at a hearing entitled \u0022Forgotten Voices,\u0022 including three representatives from native tribes which had vocally opposed President Donald Trump\u0026#039;s decision to shrink the two monuments by about two million acres in 2017, citing their sacred connection to the lands.\u0022To Hopi people, the Bears Ears National Monument is a spiritually occupied landscape,\u0022 said Clark Tenakhongva, vice chairman of the Hopi tribe, at the hearing. \u0022This land is a testament of Hopi stewardship through thousands of years, manifested by the \u0026#039;footprints\u0026#039; of ancient villages, sacred springs, migration routes, pilgrimage trails, [and] artifacts.\u0022Clark W. Tenakhongva, Vice Chair, Hopi Tribe: “Bears Ears National Monument is spiritually occupied landscape … a testament of Hopi stewardship through thousands of years, manifested by the footprints” of ancient villages and cultural sites. #StandWithBearsEars #MonumentsForAll pic.twitter.com/AEPeeGTKMj— Wilderness Society (@Wilderness) March 13, 2019Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), one of two Native American women who made history when they were elected to Congress last year, expressed solidarity with the Hopi and other tribes.\u0022I can say the bones of my ancestors are buried in Bears Ears,\u0022 Haaland said. \u0022It\u0026#039;s easy to get emotional about tribal land when your ancestors have lived there for generations and it\u0026#039;s only because of them that you\u0026#039;re able to sit here today...I appreciate local tribes for coming so far to explain why this land is important.\u0022\u0022I can say the bones of my ancestors are buried in Bears Ears ... I have a strong say in it also.\u0022 We all have a shared interest in protecting the land - @RepDebHaaland #MonumentsForAll pic.twitter.com/CpKtr54qU0— Wilderness Society (@Wilderness) March 13, 2019Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) noted in his opening remarks that the Interior Department\u0026#039;s own inspector general had found the review conducted by Zinke to be unsatisfactory, and Zinke himself to be apparently unconcerned with whether the process was \u0022legal, whether it was improperly influenced, or whether it best protected public lands.\u0022\u0022When my colleagues read the full report they will say administration\u0026#039;s process was hollow and improper,\u0022 Grijalva said. \u0022Industry was given special consideration in this process...and the voice of the American people was ignored.\u0022In 2017 Trump \u0026amp; former Sec Zinke perpetrated the largest public lands protection rollback in modern American history. They ignored sovereign tribes, local communities \u0026amp; public opinion. Today this illegal action by the Trump admin gets the scrutiny it deserves. #MonumentsForAll pic.twitter.com/7VdDVIPFCd— Natural Resources (@NRDems) March 13, 2019In addition to Tenakhongva, two other witnesses at the hearing—Tony Small, vice chairman of the Ute Tribe, and Carleton Bowekaty, lieutenant governor of the Pueblo of Zuni—described how they were given just an hour of Zinke\u0026#039;s time during the review process, while monument opponents were able to join the secretary on his four-day tour of the lands. The inequity amounted to a violation of the Antiquities Act, they argued.\u0022The current administration,\u0022 Bowekaty said, \u0022conducted a National Monument review that largely ignored tribal interests and concerns. It appears that this so-called review was conducted with a pre-determined objective of justifying executive action—action which we are now challenging in federal court—to greatly reduce the area protected by the Bears Ears National Monument so that excluded lands can be available for mineral exploration and development.\u0022\u0022President Trump\u0026#039;s unprecedented proclamation revoking Bears Ears and replacing it with two small monument units violates the Antiquities Act and exceeds the power delegated to the president by Congress,\u0022 testified Small.\u0022The Antiquities Act does not authorize a president to rescind or modify national monuments created by their predecessors, and certainly does not authorize them to revoke and replace existing monuments with smaller ones as has been attempted here,\u0022 he added.As the hearing was underway, the Western Values Project released an analysis of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Utah Bureau of Land Management, which showed that the Interior Department misrepresented findings regarding the monuments\u0026#039; effects on Utah\u0026#039;s economy.\u0022The Trump Administration steamrolled expertise on the ground in Utah in order to push a narrow political agenda from Washington, D.C.,\u0022 said the group\u0026#039;s executive director, Chris Saeger, in a statement.\u0022It is my firm belief that this was a pre-destined outcome and everything since has been to justify that outcome,\u0022 Grijalva concluded at the hearing.